The following are questions commonly posted on our discussion boards, along with answers and advice from responding members. In many cases, member answers have been expanded on sex without commitment other sources, and relevant links have been added for more information.
Our members are usually very generous with their advice and support. How can I relate to what my spouse is going through? How can I be supportive and understanding? How can my partner have spells where they seem perfectly normal and loving, while at other times they are completely irrational? If it comes to the point of involuntary commitment, will they ever forgive me? What level of responsibility can I logically expect from my partner? How can I best take care of my own physical and mental well-being, without making my partner feel neglected or abandoned?
How can I cope with my partner’s extreme emotional withdrawal? The symptoms are affecting our physical and sexual relationship – is there anything to be done? Living with a mentally ill partner is affecting my own thoughts – I have to remind myself who’s delusional! Many partners struggle to understand what their ill loved one deals with every day, so that they can better support and understand them.
One of the best things to do is find out as much as you can about schizophrenia as an illness. The Sights and Sounds of Schizophrenia’ – an NPR report with a virtual-reality simulation of what a person with schizophrenia might experience in day-to-day life. How can my partner go through spells where they seem perfectly normal and loving, while at other times they are completely irrational? As one husband put it, “I have been dealing with my wife’s SZ for 10 of our 20 years of marriage, and the one thing that I can tell you is this disease is so unpredictable.
Just when you think things are stablizing a relapse occurs, or just when you think things can’t get any worse they can suddenly take a turn for the better. It’s always a good idea to have a “get better” and “get worse” plan in case your partner’s illness takes a turn one way or the other – know your resources, who you can call on for help, and what you will do in each case. Getting a treatment plan and sticking to it is a vital part of symptom control – medication is the best tool we have right now to deal with schizophrenia symptoms. Working and communicating with your partner’s treating psychiatrist is also important – because of the lack of insight that often affects people with schizophrenia, they sometimes don’t share everything about their illness experience with their doctors.